Bell John L.
Language of the article : English
DOI: 10.3406/intel.2009.1736
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It is characteristic of a continuum that it be “all of one piece”, in the sense of being inseparable into two (or more) disjoint nonempty parts. By taking “part” to mean open (or closed) subset of the space, one obtains the usual topological concept of connectedness. Thus a space S is defined to be connected if it cannot be partitioned into two disjoint nonempty open (or closed) subsets – or equivalently, given any partition of S into two open (or closed) subsets, one of the members of the partition must be empty. This holds, for example, for the space R of real numbers and for all of its open or closed intervals. Now a truly radical condition results from taking the idea of being “all of one piece” literally, that is, if it is taken to mean inseparability into any disjoint nonempty parts, or subsets, whatsoever. A space S satisfying this condition is called cohesive or indecomposable. While the law of excluded middle of classical logic reduces indecomposable spaces to the trivial empty space and onepoint spaces, the use of intuitionistic logic makes it possible not only for nontrivial cohesive spaces to exist, but for every connected space to be cohesive.In this paper I describe the philosophical background to cohesiveness as well as some of the ways in which the idea is modelled in contemporary mathematics.

Pour citer cet article :

Bell John L. (2009/1). Cohesiveness. In De Glas Michel (Eds), The Mathematical Continuum. New Conceptions, New Challenges, Intellectica, 51, (pp.145-168), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2009.1736.